Cultural Tourism South Island

  • Cultural Tourism South Island

Cultural Tourism South Island - campervan road trips

A feast of Maori culture awaits you. From Kaikoura to Queenstown to Stewart Island, all your experiences along the way will gain you indepth insight into the historical past of Aotearoa New Zealand.

To follow this campervan driving itinerary, pick up and return your vehicle at our Christchurch branch. Visit maui campervan hire Christchurch for more details.

driving routeoverviewyour drivingitinerary

Top of the South

Start: Christchurch
Finish: Christchurch
Duration: 6 days
Highlights:

  • Whale Watch in Kaikoura
  • Lewis Pass or the wine country of Marlborough
  • Abel Tasman National Park on a sea kayak
  • Rugged West Coast
  • Arthurs Pass

Bottom of the South

Start: Christchurch
Finish: Christchurch
Duration: 6 days
Highlights:

  • Mount Cook National Park
  • New Zealand's capital of adventure tourism - Queenstown
  • Wanaka, Cromwell, Arrowtown
  • Lake Te Anau
  • Milford Sound & Doubtful Sound
  • Invercargill & Stewart Island
  • Catlins Coast

Top of the South

Day 1
Pick up your maui motorhome. Prior to departing Christchurch, you might consider a waka ride with Katoro in the heart of Christchurch, to blow out those travel cobwebs! Drive to Kaikoura, best known for whalewatching. En route visit the Pegasus Winery in Amberley, Waipara (approximately 30 minutes North of Christchurch) for a taste of local food and wine. Enjoy the hospitality of the Miharotia B&B or Dusky Lodge in Kaikoura. Don’t forget to book your half day tour with Maori Tours Kaikoura for the next day.

Day 2
After your half day outing, enjoy a good meal at the Beach House Café. Drive North to Nelson via Lewis Pass or the wine country of Marlborough. Make sure you drop into the Koata Krafts Gallery, located next to the i-SITE in central Nelson.

Day 3
Spend today at the Abel Tasman National Park on a sea kayak with Abel Tasman Kayaks, or perhaps take their special Abel Tasman Maori Uncut guided tour. Either way, you’ll have a memorable experience in Motueka.

Day 4 and 5
Head South towards the West Coast for the extraordinarily scenic drive down the West Coast. There are many sights of interest along the way. Splash out for a night of luxury and hospitality at the Awatuna Homestead in Hokitika. You’ll love the evening story telling session with your hosts that brings this whole region to life in a very special way.

Day 6
Drive back to Christchurch over Arthurs Pass. Back in Christchurch this evening, you could take in a special cultural experience at either Tamaki Heritage Village in Ferrymead, or at Ko Tane, located at the Willowbank Park. Both experiences offer insights into either our historical past or the native wildlife of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Bottom of the South

Day 1 and 2
Collect your maui motorhome and head towards Queenstown, via the picturesque scenery of the Mount Cook National Park in the heart of New Zealand’s alpine country. At 3764 metres, Mt Cook is the highest of the New Zealand’s 27 mountains over 3000 metres. It is known as Aoraki (or Aorangi, cloud piercer) by Maori. New Zealand's highest peak was named Mt Cook (after the British explorer Captain James Cook) by Captain Stokes of the survey ship HMS Acheron. Stop en route and enjoy the environment.

Day 3
Queenstown is well known for its adventure tourism offerings. Today, you could spend exploring the far reaches of the Mt Aspiring National Park on the Dart River Safaris, operating out of Glenorchy. Or take a shorter, but no less exciting, experience on the Shotover Jet just out of Queenstown. After the ride, slow yourself down with a meander through the Toi o Tahuna Fine Art Gallery in the middle of Queenstown, or it’s neighbouring Kapa Design Gallery where you’ll find an array of Maori arts and crafts to admire or purchase.

If adventure activities aren’t really “your thing”, you could take a day excursion through the historic Kawerau Gorge toward Wanaka. The Big Picture near Cromwell, offers a very unique wine tasting experience with their aroma room that brings the content of wine to life. Enjoy a kai (meal) while you relax and enjoy the experience. Head back to Arrowtown and give yourself a luxurious break by staying at the Poutama Lodge, overlooking Lake Hayes.

Day 4/5
Head south from Queenstown toward Invercargill via the Southern Scenic Route that passes through Te Anau. This route accesses the Milford and Doubtful Sounds, both worthy of a visit as your time permits.

We’re heading for Stewart Island, known as the anchor of maui’s waka. Ulvas Guided Walks gives you a unique insight, not only into the bird life of Ulva Island, but also the cultural history of this area. Your host is from here, in fact she’s named after the Island. This is your most Southern Maori tourism experience but certainly one not to miss!

Day 6
As you head back to Christchurch, take the scenic route along the Catlins Coast. You won’t be disappointed as this remote area has spectacular scenery, amazing history and a number of great spots to park up and enjoy your surroundings. During this journey, you have passed through a portion of maui’s waka that is the South Island.